The long term objective of the proposed research is to understand better the role of effect/emotion in social behavior. Many affective disorders such as depression are thought to result from or be supported by one's social circumstances. A better understanding of normal affective responses to various social circumstances could facilitate the understanding and treatment of pathological responses. In particular, the concern is with behavior in situations in which another's better performance (relative to one's own) is apparent. A recent self-evaluation maintenance model suggests that such situations can produce negative feelings (via unflattering comparisons) or positive feelings (via """"""""basking in reflected glory"""""""" of the other's good performance). More specifically, a series of experiments is proposed: (1) to probe the affective consequences of different levels of relative performance and to see if these affective consequences have implications for behavior unrelated to performance feedback; (2) to see if threats to self-esteem that are independent of relative performance feedback have an impact on the emotional response to performance feedback, and, if so, what the mechanism might be; (3) to find out if affective responses to performance feedback plays a causal role in subsequent changes in behavior. In a final study, the qualitative emotional reaction (e.g. feelings of jeaolousy, """"""""pride"""""""" in other's performance) to performance feedback is studied.

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National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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Mental Health Behavioral Sciences Research Review Committee (BSR)
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University of Georgia
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